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Current Lab Members

Patricia (Trisha) Wittkopp, Principal Investigator (CV)
Dr. Wittkopp's studies of evolution and development in Drosophila started during her undergraduate research with Dr. Greg Gibson at the University of Michigan (B.S. 1997), and continued during her doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin with Dr. Sean Carroll (Ph.D. 2002). From 2002-2005, Dr. Wittkopp studied the evolution of gene expression as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Andy Clark at Cornell University. Coming full circle, the Wittkopp lab was officially founded at U. Michigan in August 2005.
Joseph Coolon, Assistant Research Scientist
Joseph earned his Ph.D. at Kansas State University, working with Dr. Michael Herman on ecological genomics ofmicrobes and nematodes in August 2008. He began his postdoctoral work in September 2008 and has been using next-generation sequencing to investigate patterns of regulatory evolution among Drosophila species. This work is supported by a National Institutes of Health NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship. Personal website
Rich Lusk, Postdoctoral Fellow
Rich joined the lab in the summer of 2011 after completing his PhD at UC Berkeley, where he worked with Mike Eisen to dissect the spatial relationships between transcription factor binding sites in Drosophila enhancers and yeast promoters. In the Wittkopp lab he is exploring how genetic variation between closely related Drosophila species drives patterns of change in expression and transcription factor binding. This work is supported by an NIH NSRA postdoctoral fellowship.
Fabien Duveau, Postdoctoral Fellow
Fabien joined the lab in May 2012 after conducting doctoral studies on the evolution of a robust developmental system in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans in Marie-Anne Félix’ team (University Paris 7). For his postdoctoral work, he is now interested in understanding how noise in gene expression can affect fitness and how past selection pressures on gene expression can influence future evolutionary trajectories using experimental evolution approaches in yeast. This work is supported by an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship.
Brian Metzger, EEB Graduate Student
Brian earned his B.S. in Genetics and Microbiology from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. During that time he worked for Dr. Carol Lee on the ecology and evolutionary biology of the invasive copepod Eurytemora affinis. His current projects focus on determining the relationship between pleiotropy and fitness, and how pleiotropy can bias the set of mutations which are ultimately evolutionarily relevant. Brian is currently supported by a Rackham Merit Fellowship and the Genome Sciences Training Program.
Kraig Stevenson, Bioinformatics Graduate Student
Kraig earned his B.S. in statistics from Michigan State University in 2007. Afterwards, he joined Sebastian Zoellner's group at the University of Michigan Department of Biostatistics, where he studied leveraging population structure in sibling genotype data and CNV detection from microarray data. After receiving his M.S. in biostatistics in 2009, he entered the Bioinformatics Graduate Program as a PhD student. He officially joined the lab in January 2010 and is developing methods to classify regulatory divergence between closely related species of Drosophila using next-generation sequencing data.
Bing Yang, MCDB Graduate Student
Bing earned his B.S. in Biology from Peking University. During that time he worked in Wensheng Wei's lab on interaction between pathogen and host. He joined the lab in December 2011, and is now working on using sequencing data to interpret regulation change in evolutionary history. He is also interested in integrating computational methods in understanding developmental mechanisms in flies.
Alisha John, MCDB Graduate Student
Alisha earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biological Sciences from Wayne State University in 2011. She then entered the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS) at the University of Michigan to pursue Ph.D. studies. She began working in the lab in May 2012. Currently, she is working on a project with Arielle Cooley  that utilizes pigmentation differences between D. novamexicana and D. americana to study phenotypic evolution.
José Andrade López, MCDB Pathways Graduate Student
José earned his B.A. in Integrative Biology with a minor in Chicana/o Studies at UC Berkeley in May 2013 where he worked with Dr. Craig Moritz on a phylogeography project studying the diversification of an Australian gecko, Heteronotia binoei, and later with Dr. Nipam Patel investigating the regeneration of the germ line stem cell niche in Parhyale hawaiensis. He joined the lab in June 2013 and is currently identifying mutations that provide Octanoic Acid resistance in Drosophila sechellia.
Elizabeth Walker, Lab manager/Technician
Elizabeth received her M.S. in Biology from Winthrop University in May of 2010. As a graduate student, Elizabeth spent two years researching evolutionarily-conserved mechanisms in the heart of the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis. Elizabeth joined the lab in Fall 2010 as both a lab manger and research technician. She is currently assisting with various projects in the lab.
Emily Valice, Undergraduate researcher
Emily started in the lab in August 2012. She is a senior concentrating in Evolutionary and Ecology Biology, with a minor in Spanish. She is currently working with post-doc Richard Lusk on a project examining the evolution of gene expression, between D. melanogaster and D. virilis.

Stephen Tryban, Undergraduate researcher
Stephen joined the lab in March 2013. He is a junior concentrating on Ecology and Evolutionary Biology here at UM, with an interest in medicine. He is currently working on several projects as well as assisting with general lab maintenance.

Cassandra Kirkland, UROP, Undergraduate researcher
Cassi initiated her research experience through UROP in the lab in September 2012. She is a sophomore LSA Honors student with an interest in Evolutionary and Ecology Biology. Cassi is currently working with post-doc Richard Lusk on a project examining the evolution of gene expression, between D. melanogaster and D. virilis.

Natasha Sood, UROP, Undergraduate researcher
Natasha began work in the lab in September 2012. She is a sophomore LSA Honors Student with an interest in Evolutionary Biology. She is currently working with graduate student Brian Metzger on a project investigating properties of mutations affecting gene expression in yeast.

Emily Roberts, UROP, Undergraduate researcher
Emily started in the lab Fall 2013 and is working with Assistant Research Scientist, Joseph Coolon on a project titled "Behavioral response of D. sechellia to octanoic acid, the primary toxin in its host plant". She is a freshman LSA student with an interest in cellular and molecular biology.


Wittkopp Alumni

Last updated: February 18, 2014

1061 Natural Science Building
830 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1048
Wittkopp Lab phone: 734.647.5483
Wittkopp Office phone: 734.763.1548
Web site and all contents Copyright P.J. Wittkopp 2005, All rights reserved.

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